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Why are we here?

Why do we get up every morning and aim to achieve something?

Why ask why?


Philosophers use it to understand the human condition better and to seek out the answers to The Big Question (whatever that is). Scientists use it to cure diseases.  Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to ask it to improve their businesses.

It’s a powerful question.

Toddlers often have more clarity and curiosity in life than most adults. Categorically, they aren’t afraid of asking “why?” to seemingly every question that has an obvious answer.

It’s no wonder that asking higher quality questions leads to better outcomes in our personal and professional life.

So, the real question is, why do we not ask “why” more?

Why do we assume we already know the answer—and unfortunately become more preoccupied with asking what, how, when, and who?

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Albert Einstein

So why is it important to stop asking the wrong questions? Why should you start with why?

Here are five reasons for business leaders and entrepreneurs to start with “why:”

  1. What and How are Functional, Why is Inspirational

People, organizations, and teams who start with what they need to do, how they need to do it, and who needs to do it are short-sighted. They focus on plans, strategies, and tactics, but are missing the goal.

Asking “why” is inspirational, it creates tightly aligned but loosely coupled teams, because while everyone on the team may be unique in their approach towards a solution, they are all on the same page regarding why they are seeking a solution in the first place.

  1. Eliminates Confusion

The best way to get the context in any situation is to ask “why” a lot. Asking why eliminates confusion caused by preconceived assumptions, which are fueled by lack of knowledge, or more dangerously, partial knowledge.

To err is human after all, so asking “why” defines a clear path and brings everyone on the same page.

This doesn’t just extend to teams, though, introspectively you can ask yourself “why” you are following your own life’s path in your day to day life, work, and relationships.

  1. Gives Your Endeavors Purpose

Do you ever feel like you’re working “hard” but not getting where you want to be life? Asking “why” is a great way to remind yourself of the size of the prize you are pursuing.

  1. Separates Achievement and Success

Have you ever felt lukewarm about an achievement? Perhaps you got a raise, scored that challenging deal, or just joined a new role, but you didn’t feel happy or successful?

Achievement is defined by the “what” you need to do, and that’s not always aligned with the “why” you need to do it. This is precisely the saying “you gotta do, what you gotta do” is counter-intuitive. Instead, focus on “why” you must do anything at all, and you’ll realize that maybe you need to change direction to feel truly successful.

  1. Positions You to Win

Good business people ask the customer what their needs are, when they want to generate results, and who’s involved in making it happen.

Great business people start with “why” instead. They provoke their customers and clients to think differently, constructively challenging them to question their assumptions, and ask “why” of themselves. This is the difference between professionals who position themselves as an authority vs. those who just offer a commodity.

The Bible

We are to ask God why—our questions are important to Him.

The Scriptures are full of hurting people asking “why.”  Look at the Psalms. David wrote many of them when he was broken, and, in them, he poured out his most painful and intimate questions.

Sometimes David got answers. Sometimes he got silence. But even when David’s questions weren’t answered, his faith in God was stronger than his need to know.

In business, knowing the ”why” is beneficial for motivation, achievement, and success.  With the Lord, however, all we need to know is His love and care.

            Save your questions that need answers for earthly matters.  Rest in the fact that God will provide the answers to questions He wants you to know.